Thanks for reading my ‘love letter’ of sorts to the new year. I’ve been feeling a push to challenge the idea that being ‘booked and busy’ somehow equates to being successful, productive, and (dare I say it) happy. It doesn’t. What it has ended up leaving me feeling is overwhelmed, unmotivated, tired, and…resentful. As you read keep in mind I’m talking to 2021, not you!
Hey New Year!
Good to see you and so glad I made it over to write this. 2020 was a helluva year with lots of plot twists I didn’t see coming. As a matter of fact, if you would’ve told me what was coming, I probably would have had an early 40th birthday party on my 39th! Oh well, the day is coming when I can happily pack my bags and jet set off in my best economy seat to enjoy a few days away in another city, but until then, I’ve got some reflections to share with you.
Why was I busier during a freaking pandemic?
This is more of a rhetorical question, but I stopped to ask myself this SEVERAL times between March and December and I struggled to find the answer. I’m still searching for it if you really want to know the truth. Even without having to prepare myself, my son, and my household to leave each day, drop off the kid to school, commute to work, drive around the City to meet with students, run endless errands, attend networking events, attend church weekly, and entertain family and friends socially- I still found myself being busy and feeling tired from sitting in the living room at my desk all day. Why? Was it that I found other things to fill the voids? Was I searching for ways to escape thinking about the pandemic and the trauma from simply watching the news? Was I trying to prove something to ‘the world’ that by doing stuff I was somehow alright? I think it’s a resounding yes to all of the above. Bottom line 2021- I was busier last year because I wanted to be. I found myself squeezing in time to pause and think, when that’s not how it should be.
Lesson learned: I will prioritize boundaries with tasks and work to include rest the same way I schedule Zoom meeting after Zoom meeting. I will also set aside time to reflect and pray each day; see what I’m doing as I journal my prayers this year. Read the newsletter explanation HERE.
Being ‘busy’ comes as a price
My 40 years on earth have taught me there is a price for everything; sometimes it’s paid upfront, while other times that sh*t’s on layaway. And the cost to being ‘blessed and busy’ or ‘booked and busy’ is dumb high. For real, I added it up (sorta). It’s cost me my sleep, my ability to relax, it threw in a racing heartbeat, tense muscles, and panic attacks. Oh and don’t forget the overeating and lack of exercise. Did I mention wine? There were many days I sought out my escape in a pretty glass while I still stressed about my to-do list in my head. And what was my take home prize for all of this? More busyness. I learned the hard way, and I’m still learning to tell you the truth, ways to avoid going down the same path I did last year.
Lesson Learned: Organization, self-care, changes in my routine, healthy and tasty eating, asking for help and saying no are essential for me to make it through this year in one piece. Listen, I’m going to better plan out my tasks for the work day, use the Pomodoro Technique like a G, add in more fun (even if it’s a parking lot meetup with a friend), get back to cooking more regularly, outsourcing for things like cleaning, and fix my lips to say “NO” more often. I promise. Plus I’m getting back to exercising after taking part of December and practically all of January off…I focused on physical rest and it’s been good good.
I prefer being focused and efficient
Yeah I know ‘focused and efficient’ doesn’t have the same catchy ring ‘blessed and busy’ or ‘booked and busy’ has, but you get the point. I’m all about completing tasks in the most organized way; think working smarter, not harder. So this year I am going to spend the time to organize myself so I can make this happen in my work, business, and home. Thanks Google Calendar for the ability to color code tasks and invite people to events that pertain to them. Thanks Post-It for giving me space to write down a to-do list at the end of the day for the following day and trash that mug when I’m done. Shout out to my content calendar for keeping me on point with the ability to map out all the plans for Around the Way Mom. And to my new folks at Fiverr, and my soon coming housecleaner- You Da Best. I can hear you know 2021, “Doing all of that planning, organizing, and finding people to do stuff is going to take time…time you say you don’t have.” [Clears throat and proceeds to read* 2021 in one breath] If I look at time differently and see it as an investment to free up more of my time later, then I can (and will) dedicate the time to plan, organize, and hire people to do the things I need. I’m working on my mindset 2021, damn! [Exhales]
Lesson Learning (not fully learned yet!): I do not have to do alllllllllll the things in order for them to get done right and well. Since doing alllllllllll the things is going to cost me something; I would rather it not cost me emotionally, mentally, or physically. So I can use some of this money I’m saving from my President deferring student loan payments and interest until October 2021 to pay someone else to do it.
New Year be clear- I’m not repeating some of the lessons I learned in 2020. I’m not going to beat myself up or talk negatively to myself about anything. I am going to normalize rest, luxury, and asking for help as they say. I am going to look at time as a gift and an investment rather than a fleeting concept not afforded to me. I am going to be unapologetic about taking better care of myself because, while Black don’t crack, it can get worn and look bad. And I’m going to remain hopeful about the months ahead and all that is to come. -krystal
I pray you all well this year. Write your own letter to 2021 and make it clear what you learned, what you will and won’t do, and what the months ahead can expect from you.
*Read v. To wittily and incisively expose a person’s flaws (i.e. “reading them like a book”), often exaggerating or elaborating on them; an advanced format of the insult. The term is a reference to the film Paris is Burning. I am HUGE RuPaul fan so it was only right to include the definition.